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Addicted to productivity porn - need to lose it and fast.

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Addicted to productivity porn - need to lose it and fast.

Post by Montana on Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:34 am

Hi,

My name is Razvan. I have the following problem. I have become almost obsessed with productivity tools, the so called productivity porn. I have focused so much on creating the right system that I've lost touch with what I should actually do.

So, tonight, I've realized something. In order to create a good system, one that works, I must get a clean state. In other words, reduce myself to the bare minimum tools to get my work done.

At this moment, here are the tools I'm using (I'm a copywriter and an marketing consultant) and their frequency:
1. GoalScape - Goal management - Often.
2. Pomodoro - Task management - Often.
3. Slick Tasks - Task management mobile - once every 15 minutes or so.
4. Basecamp - Not so often. I use it mostly to communicate with my clients.
5. Google Docs - Often. What annoys me is that using Microsoft Word or Mac's Pages is far more comfortable. Why do I use Google Docs? Because some time ago I've tried to build the perfect system and everything had to integrate. And because I've decided that if my computer crashes, I have everything in the cloud. It didn't.
6. Highrise - Not so often. I should use it more. It's a CRM.
7. Phone timer for Pomodoro - Too often.
8. bMind - MindMapping app - Too often.
9. gMail - too often.
10. Now I've also started using todoist.com.

So what's the problem? The problem is that each of these tools comes with it's own set of rules. Goalscape is all about visual goal management - corporate style. I've paid $120 for it and I'm in the mindset trap of "I've paid it, I must use it".

Pomodoro uses 25 minute time blocks which for many tasks does not apply.

I don't know how to prioritize right. Usually, I have 80% of the tasks with A priority and 20% that can be done in less than 30 minutes.

So here is what I'm considering ...

1) Cut down everything from my PC except the word processor. Or consider using a type-writer.
2) Get a personal agenda. I already have a premium one somewhere in my bags. Do your task management there.
3) Use a simple task management system. I write down all the tasks. I organize them in projects, not contexts or roles or quadrants. I try to break them in 20 - 25 minutes modules. For example, if I have to review a project that would take me 60 minutes, I create three tasks of 20 or 25 minutes.
4) Get to work.

That's all.

The problem is that I know that I can't do it. My mind is wired to use all those tools. I check my goals daily (even if I haven't made meaningful progress), I have two or three lists in different programs or environments and now I want to hire even a personal assistant (for what, God damn-it? For what?)

It's the same feeling when I've tried to quit smoking. I know that the key to getting more down is simplifying. A LOT. Down to the basics so I can focus on what's essential - the 20% generating the results, not every crap. But it's like I can't get out from this auto-pilot mode.

Thank you so much for any advice, criticism, question you may have, etc.

It's welcomed.

Razvan
Montana
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Re: Addicted to productivity porn - need to lose it and fast

Post by ntb on Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:30 am

Hiya
Would it be possible for you to take a complete break away from work, the PC etc?
It sounds to me like you are overloaded both physically and mentally.
I have found that a complete break does me the power of good, but I know its easier said than done.
Good luck
ntb
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Re: Addicted to productivity porn - need to lose it and fast

Post by Montana on Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:00 am

At this particular moment, a break is impossible. I'm overdue with several projects and I have my goal deadlines closing by.

(My projects are usually to improve website or direct mail conversion - through any means necessary. This means that I split test, write copy, find designers, offer consultancy, making it a rather diverse set of activities).

However ...

I've took the first steps! Hoorah!

I've eliminated everything from my BlackBerry. I mean everything. I've deleted $60 worth of apps, even the games, even chess. I've left only my Catholic Bible (I tend to read from it daily) and the apps it came with (phone, email, etc).

I've sabotaged my forum account there. While it was fun to give advice to stupid people, it was a time waster. I've disabled the PM, changed the email to a random one and deleted the email with my password.

I've installed an internet blocker on my notebook and I've moved everything from my main screen except the word processor. It's an offline word processor so I'll disable the Internet connection. Or better yet, password my hotspot so I can't enter whenever I need it.

I've recovered my notebook. It's a pleasure to keep in my hands. It's so simple and for once, I don't have to read a 50 page manual to know how to use it.

I've also decided to eliminate my other activities as well - in order to get a blank start.

This means that I've skipped my morning routine (exercising, reading, etc) and based on my state, priorities, environment I'll design the best routine I can daily. The morning routine took too much time anyway without any real improvements to my productivity.

Instead of working out daily I can just join a gym and receive a real work-out. Or, I will resume work-ing out, but I want to eliminate the complexity out of it too. Following a 25 points checklist is not fun.

It's time to simplify everything, tear it down and then start a new wall. One which will be better than the last one. Now, I must just not fall into the trap of "I've paid for it, I must use it" mentality.
Montana
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Re: Addicted to productivity porn - need to lose it and fast

Post by ntb on Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:59 pm

Thats great, I am sure you'll overcome the problems you are having at the moment. Just remember life is not a rehearsal, a cliche I know but still true.
I have been listening to John Kehoes mind power course and have to say its helped me enormously with addictions and feelings of helplessness and stress.
Worth a listen.
Bye for now
ntb
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Re: Addicted to productivity porn - need to lose it and fast

Post by Montana on Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:24 pm

I've tried this new approach today.

My phone is a virgin again and it's refreshing not to have it freeze from 5 to 5 minutes.

I've completed today what it would usually take me one week. No joke. I've completed one difficult email marketing project (the first sequence I've scraped and I've started a completely new one, so it was 2x the effort) + a series of motivational emails.

All in one day work. It was better than ever.

My tools for today?

1. Laptop - nothing else than the word-processor and Chrome for when I had to download something online (as research files). I've installed two internet blockers and as soon as the download was complete, I've activated them again.

2. No wi-fi. No wi-fi at all. No email, nothing.

3. Leather notebook. Three lists with what I have to do.

4. A few hours of quiet productive time.

I'm proud of what I've achieved and I think I've hit something here.

Razvan
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